Christmas has come early for Falmouth hotelier and businessman Nigel Carpenter, whose innovative plans to rejuvenate a prime seafront site have been approved by Cornwall Council.

Mr Carpenter, who owns the St Michael’s Hotel and Spa and the neighbouring plot which had housed the Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel before it went up in flames, has thanked local residents and the business community for getting behind his vision, which includes the iconic new “Liner Building” which will contain 56 ocean-facing apartments.

“I’m chuffed, really pleased,” said Mr Carpenter. “It is brilliant that something as interesting and innovative has gone through. It has been good to have so much support along the way.”

The scheme has been granted conditional approval under delegated powers after Falmouth Town Council and the local Cornwall Council representative, Geoffrey Evans, supported the proposals, which will create 90 new jobs and safeguard a further 115 in Falmouth.

In his report, case officer Mark Ball said: “The scheme would deliver a number of key public benefits; namely significant investment in the tourism economy of Falmouth, increased employment opportunities, and regeneration and bringing back into use this prime seafront site that is currently vacant and that detracts greatly from the character and appearance of the Falmouth conservation area.”

Under the terms of a Section 106 legal agreement, a financial contribution of £250,000 will be made towards the provision of off-site affordable housing, and a further £40,000 made towards improvements to public open space in the vicinity of the site.

The approval comes after extensive consultation was carried out by Mr Carpenter and his team, both before the application was submitted and after. While there were objections to some aspects, alterations were made to the design, and generally the feedback was positive.

Mr Carpenter told the Packet this week: “I am very grateful to everyone for the overwhelming support we have received for this scheme. Falmouth really got behind it, in particular, which just shows what a positive, forward thinking community we have here.

“Constructive criticism and suggested improvements have been welcomed throughout the whole process and, whilst the integrity of the scheme remains, there have been many modifications. For example, comments from the Civic Society led us to improve the roof shape on The Liner Building; residents in Stracey Road wanted to see more traditional architecture for the Cottage apartments which we adopted.

“A lot of effort has gone into tackling the issues of cars and car parking, whilst at the same time extending the wonderful sub-tropical gardens of St Michael’s. Underground car parking will be created for over 100 cars, with a total of 174 car parking places on site.

“With the main entrance off the beach, traffic congestions will be significantly eased in Stracey Road and Gyllyngvase Hill.

“We would still like to talk to the council about improving the beach car park to make it suitable for guests and customers to use and have been offered to fund the improvements.”

With the planning approval now secured, the next stage will involve more detailed design development and then discussions regarding how the scheme will be financed, although Mr Carpenter is confident this will be achieved.

It is hoped work will actually start on site next November and will take between two to three years to complete.